The parents of a teen charged in last week’s deadly Michigan school shooting pleaded not guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges after being arrested following an hours-long manhunt, CNN reports.
Prosecutors last week charged 15-year-old Ethan Crumbley with killing four students and wounding seven others at Oxford High School last Tuesday.
Crumbley faces four counts of first-degree murder, seven counts of attempted murder, one count of terrorism causing death, and 12 firearm charges.
Prosecutors say Crumbley was pulled out of class after a teacher found a disturbing drawing depicting a shooting and a message that said “help me.”
The teen’s parents were called to the school but insisted that he return to class.
The next day, prosecutors say, Crumbley showed up with a gun his dad bought him the week prior and opened fire.
Prosecutors announced that they would bring involuntary manslaughter charges against the boy’s parents last week. An attorney for the parents said they would surrender but then lost track of them and police launched a manhunt to track them down. They were found in a Detroit warehouse, though their attorneys insisted they planned to turn themselves in.
Both parents pleaded not guilty to four counts of involuntary manslaughter and were ordered to be held on $500,000 bond each.
"This isn't indicative of turning themselves in, hiding in a warehouse,” Detroit Police Chief James White told reporters.
Prosecutors allege that the parents, James and Jennifer Crumbley, gave free access to the gun to their child. Attorneys for the parents said in court that the gun was locked.
Prosecutors say James Crumbley bought the gun as a gift for his son on Black Friday. His mother took him to a shooting range the weekend before the shooting.
Person of interest:
An attorney identified 65-year-old Andrzej Sikora as the man who helped hide the parents.
Attorney Clarence Dass told CNN that he “did not really know what was going on” or that the couple was wanted by police.
Dass said Sikora got “roped into it.” He said Sikora “knew them but not well.”
Sikora "has been an upstanding citizen his entire life. An immigrant from Poland, he has dedicated his adult life to the arts and metro Detroit community," Dass said. "Mr. Sikora has not been charged with any crime. Nevertheless, upon learning of the Crumbleys' arrest on December 4, 2021, he voluntarily contacted the Detroit Police Department and Oakland County Sheriff's Office to provide information. He maintains his innocence throughout this process and is fully cooperating with law enforcement to assist in their investigation.”